Wendy Moore, author of The Knife Man, and one of my personal recommended reads, Wedlock, the biography of Mary Eleanor Bowes has just finished her newest book, How to Create the Perfect Wife:
This is the story of how Thomas Day, a young man of means, decided he could never marry a woman with brains, spirit or fortune. Instead, he adopted two orphan girls from a Foundling Hospital, and set about educating them to become the meek, docile women he considered marriage material.That Thomas Day sounds like a real catch, doesn't he?
Unsurprisingly, Day's marriage plans did not run smoothly. Having returned one orphan early on, his girl of choice, Sabrina Sidney, would also fall foul of the experiment. From then on, she led a difficult life, inhabiting a curious half-world - an ex-orphan, and not quite a ward; a governess, and not quite a fiancée. But Sabrina also ended up figuring in the life of scientists and luminaries as disparate as Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Priestley, as well as that pioneering generation of women writers who included Fanny Burney, Maria Edgeworth and Anna Seward.
In HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT WIFE, Wendy has found a story that echoes her concerns about women's historic powerlessness, and captures a moment when ideas of human development and childraising underwent radical change.
Anyone who would like a chance to win a hardcover copy of How to Create the Perfect Wife only needs to leave a comment on this post by May 8. Winners shall be announced the following day. Good luck!
The Small(ish) Print:
This giveaway is open to those with mailing addresses in North America and Europe. The winner will be drawn at random and is responsible for emailing me back within the week with their mailing address so don't forget to check back!